Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Joel SYLVIA (Shoplifting 3rd Off, Disorderly, Resisting Arrest

On Saturday, December 01, 2018, Officer Schneider and I were assigned to marked unit East-1 and on routine patrol. At approximately 5:37 PM, we were dispatched to the area of Lucky Brand (561 Assembly Row) on a report of a shoplifter. Dispatch stated that a black male, approximately 5’10” wearing a black pea coat and a fedora, just shoplifted and was heading towards the train station. Officer Fusco (East-4) responded as backup.

Upon arrival to the train station, Officer Fusco stated that Assembly Row Security Officer XXXX, had followed the suspect onto the train platform. We made our way onto the platform where XXXX was pointing to a gentlemen sitting in the last train car matching the description given. Officer Fusco asked the suspect, later identified as Mr. Joel Sylvia, to step off the train and speak with us. It should be noted that the train was full of passenger at the time. Mr. Sylvia began to argue and yell, causing a disturbance in the train. He refused to comply with Officer Fusco’s orders, and began to yell, “you aren’t the MBTA Police, you can’t tell me to do anything!” Officer Fusco attempted to explain we needed to speak with him, and to step off the train a second time. At this point a large crowd had gathered on the far end of the train. Due to Mr. Sylvia’s loud and tumultuous behavior, the train was unable to leave the station as he was refusing to exit. Officer Fusco attempted to grab one of Mr. Sylvia s arms to escort him off the train, as he was creating a large disturbance and preventing a train full of passenger from leaving. Mr. Sylvia violently pulled away from Officer Fusco yelling, “fuck you” and, “what right do you have?” At this point I went over to grab Mr. Sylvia’s other hand, and a struggle ensued. Mr. Sylivia began resisting officers attempts at getting him off the train. Several passengers had to jump out of the way as Mr. Sylvia flailed about and fought with officers. Officer Schneider yelled to Mr. Sylivia, “you are under arrest.” At this point he began to fight harder, and continue to yell obscenities. After a brief struggle, we were able to place Mr. Sylivia in handcuffs and escort him off the train. It should be noted that not only did Mr. Sylvia match the description given out by dispatch, Officer Fusco also recognizes Mr. Sylivia from past shoplifting incidents that occurred at Columbia Sportswear Outlet (401 Assembly Row).

Mr. Sylvia was explained why we initially contacted him. I noticed a T. J. Maxx bag that Mr. Sylivia was carrying to be full of merchandise which still contained price tags, and 1 item that still contained a security tag. Also found in Mr. Sylvia’s backpack were green handled pliers, and red handled wire cutters. Based on my training and experience, individuals typically carry these on their person during the commission of shoplifting offenses to remove security devices from merchandise. Mr. Sylvia was transported to the Somerville Police Station in marked unit 200 operated by Officer T. Lambert, and booked by Sergeant McCarey.

Officer Schneider and I conducted a follow-up at Lucky Brand and learned the following: store manager XXXX was alerted by Security that and individual whom just shoplifted at Adidas was now in the store. She located the individual and followed him around for a while prior to him exiting the store. She stated that she was unsure if he shoplifted, but the security alarm did go off when he exited. From there we conducted a follow-up at Adidas and learned the following: Employee XXXX noticed Mr. Sylvia enter the store at approximately 5:27 PM. He went immediately over to one of the far clothing racks and began to conceal merchandise. She immediately contacted Assembly Row Security. At approximately 5:30 PM, Mr. Sylvia abruptly left the store, setting off the security alarm at the front doors. XXXX notified Assembly Row Security, and security officer XXXX was able to spot Mr. Sylivia enter Lucky Brand briefly before heading to the train station, where he helped officers point him out on the train. I reviewed security footage from Adidas which showed Mr. Sylivia enter the store at approximately 5:27 PM where he can be seen moving to a clothing rack in the rear of the store. He grabbed several items from off the rack and went out of view, only to appear exiting the store with a T.J. Maxx bag. I could see merchandise hanging out of this bag as he left. I discovered the following items in the bag in Mr. Sylvia’s possession that were stolen:

– (2) Adidas jackets totaling $144.97
– (1) Lucky Brand sweatshirt totaling $89.50

Mr. Sylivia admitted post Miranda that he also stole the Lucky Brand sweatshirt as well. It should be noted that Mr. Sylivia also had in his possession several items from Polo which he stated he purchased in Copley Square. These items will be held as his property at the station pending evidence that he purchased these items legally. Addition charges may come at a later time. All merchandise will be returned to their respectful stores. The pliers and wire cutter will be tagged in for destruction. I have attached digital images of the stolen merchandise, the pliers and wire cutters, along with a still image of Mr. Sylivia obtained from Adidas surveillance. Mr. Sylvia is charged with the following:

M.L. c266 S30A – Shoplifting by Asportation, 3RD Off. (2 counts)
M.L. c266 30B – Possession of a Theft Detection Removal Device
M.L. c272 S53 – Disorderly Conduct
M.L. c268 S32B – Resisting Arrest

Respectfully submitted,

Officer Kevin Goulart #326

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